Covid-19: Malaysian king declares state of emergency to fight virus

Covid-19: Malaysian king declares state of emergency to fight virus

The emergency also gives the embattled prime minister a reprieve from growing calls in parliament for a special election.

The ruling government made the right decision to advise Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri'ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah to declare a State of Emergency to protect the people from the escalating danger posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, said political scientist Prof Dr Jayum Jawan.

Under the emergency, the military can be given powers to help carry out functions related to public health, he said, adding that the police can also be given extra powers.

The emergency declaration, which allows the Muhyiddin government to introduce laws without parliamentary approval, comes a day after the premier announced a nationwide travel ban and a 14-day lockdown in the capital Kuala Lumpur and five states.

"If this is the true underlying reason, the declaration of a national emergency is not only an overkill but an abuse of executive power that places the country at great peril", according to a joint statement by activist groups and nongovernmental organizations. Malaysia has been in political turmoil since March previous year when Muhyiddin came to power without an election following Mahathir's resignation and the collapse of his reformist administration.

In a televised address, Muhyiddin attempted to assure the nation that the state of emergency was "not a military coup" and that no curfew would be enforced during that period.

Muhyiddin first tried persuade the king to declare an emergency in October but was rebuffed.

The health ministry later Tuesday reported 3,309 new coronavirus cases, a new daily record, pushing the country's tally to 141,533, from just over 15,000 three months ago.

Al-Sultan Abdullah also advised the people to remain calm, resilient and resilient in the face of the implementation of this emergency and the Movement Control Order (MCO) for security and common interests.

The country now has a total of more than 138,000 cases and over 550 deaths.

"A dark day for democracy", he tweeted.

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